This year has been one long marathon of trying to be strong, rally and make it through grief. I've done it, but I am exhausted. In just a couple of weeks I will have reached a year of living alone. The end of firsts is almost in sight! A couple of weeks ago, I went through some of my last "firsts," with what would be 11th year wedding anniversary hitting. I knew I needed to change the meaning of that day for myself, so I went back to my favorite resort in all of Arizona, Mountain Shadows.  I decided to make May 19th a day of revival. 


I went there last year to rejuvenate myself with some girlfriends (read last year's review). I knew it was the place I needed to go once again. From the beautiful grounds, to the tasty food, to the relaxing pool, to the stellar fitness classes...It was just what the doctor ordered.


I created a highlight reel on my Instagram account of all of the moments I loved. Click here to watch. Rennai joined me for a day at the pool where we enjoyed cocktails and talked for hours. Then I enjoyed a nice long shower and my time on the patio drinking rose before I met a friend for dinner at Hearth.  There was live music, and the food was amazing as always. 


I enjoyed an amazing sleep in my queen size bed, and then I took a full body fitness class in the morning. After that, I brunched with my friend Karolyn, and checked out fully refreshed. If you eat brunch there make sure to get the steak and eggs. OH MY GOSH! 


There were definitely some tears and some sad moments in the day because the royal wedding was happening the day of my anniversary. But being at that hotel kept my mind at peace and focused on enjoying my surroundings instead of dwelling on all of the what-ifs. 


I highly recommend Mountain Shadows for a place of peace and a good time. They have amazing staycation rates over the summer. Be sure to check out their website for more information. 


One of the plus sides of living in such a beautiful part of the country is that everyone wants to vacation here. The dry climate and desert beauty lends itself to be a desert oasis for the rest of the U.S.A. living in the cold during the autumn, winter and early spring months. The resorts and spas are plentiful here, and one of the best resorts in the Valley is Mountain Shadows

It's a new resort with a very old history that dates back to the Rat Pack days. The original resort was demolished and this new resort (its namesake) was built in its place. The modern architecture and interiors pay homage to the mid-century history of the previous resort while bringing the resort into the 21st century with contemporary elements as well. It's STUNNING to say the least. If you're a mcm architecture lover you will enjoy the space a lot.

One of the Arizonan secrets is to plan a staycation during the off-season if you really want to enjoy peace and quiet. The pace is slower in the summer due to the heat, but it's really optimal weather to spend an entire day poolside. So, Mountain Shadows invited me to come and relax enjoy a much needed girls weekend with a couple close friends to experience all the resort has to offer. 

Everything from the moment I stepped out of my car to the moment I left was top notch. When I walked into my room was I was stunned by how beautiful it was. Each room has a patio with beautiful views. The resort is nestled between two mountains, so I mean it when I say there isn't a bad view. 

On Friday night, we enjoyed appetizers and drinks at The Living Room (their bar) where they had the best live music. I swear I thought John Mayer was in concert the band was so good. They usually have live music Friday and Saturday nights if you ever just want to go to the bar for a date night. The service was lovely and the food was outstanding. Most everything is locally sourced and the menu is constantly changing to reflect the seasons and freshness of the local produce. We shared a yummy beet salad, burrata and chip and guacamole while we talked for hours with some wine in hand. 

I forgot how it felt to not have a care in the world and just hang with friends. I really haven't done anything like since becoming a mom. If you're in a similar position, I highly recommend carving out the time to plan a trip with some friends once in awhile.

We didn't have to wake up early the next morning, so why not stay out all night long. We went to bed around 11pm (late for me) and I woke up at 7am and enjoyed a slow morning with Rennai. We had some Press coffee and lounged outdoors listening to birds and people watching. 

I had every intention of enjoying a yoga class that morning. So we wandered over to their top of the line fitness center to wait for the class to start. I stretched and took in the peace and quiet, but I started not to feel so great, and thinking perhaps my stomach just needed some food, we moved up our brunch reservations and ate some oatmeal and eggs at Hearth '61. 

It was SO GOOD! Just what the doctor ordered. I highly recommend their oatmeal or eggs Benedict. Although be sure to read the post until the end because I had the most amazing pancakes in my entire life there too. 

After brunch we got our suits on and headed for the pool. If I was going to lay down all day I may as well do it by the water, right? And that's exactly what we did. We had a very lazy day and just talked for hours while we sipped watermelon juice. It was so good for the soul. 

The poolside service was excellent. They had towels waiting for you on every chair and plenty of umbrellas and cabanas for your comfort. We saw families with little babies to adults on romantic getaways. Your view is of Camelback Mountain the entire time, and there are two pools (one higher and one lower), so there is plenty of space for everyone. 

After the pool we washed up to get ready for dinner at Hearth '61. But, at that point, I really started to feel sick.  It turns out that I caught the stomach bug from my daughter (she had been sick the night before I left). I was so bummed that I couldn't go to dinner with all of my girlfriends, but I sent them to a night out anyway. I told them to report back all of their favorite foods they savored. 

The girls shared a nice bottle of red wine, and started out with a taste of street corn with ricotta salata, chipotle aioli and popcorn courtesy of the Chef Alfred. The presentation was gorgeous. 

The gals had a big appetite, and were completely sold on the idea of splitting a 40 ounce steak (yeah, you read that right). See, this is what happens when I am not there. Haha! I never would have thought to order that, but after hearing about how amazing this Niman Ranch tomahawk rib-eye was I think I need to go back and try it for myself. It came with rosemary truffle butter (oh my gosh). Need I say more? 

The also enjoyed sides of carrots with tahini yogurt chevre and polenta a la plancha with creme fraiche and basil. 

Dessert stole the show though because they got to try every dessert on the menu. They tried peanut butter mousse, molten lava cake, brioche bread pudding, and the vanilla lavender panna cotta. 

I couldn't believe they had room to try all of the those, but I guess when it tastes that good you make room for it. They told me hands down the peanut butter mousse and the bread pudding were the best. So, if you visit be sure to try those.

While they had a night out I went to bed at 7pm and woke up at 7am still feeling nauseous, but not enough to detour me from eating breakfast. We headed down to enjoy some pancakes and eggs. I didn't finish every bite, but what I did savor was out of this world.

Bacon pistachio pancakes you guys! Need I say more? Best pancakes of my life. I would go to brunch at Hearth '61 any day for these. 

It sure was a tasty end to the getaway. And even though things didn't go as planned for me, the hotel was so beautiful it was actually the best place for me to simply relax and heal. 

As a interior design and architecture lover this is hands down my favorite hotel in the Phoenix area right now. It's pure luxury, super sexy and high end. I would highly recommend Mountain Shadows to guests visiting Arizona, as well as couples looking for a getaway. Be sure to check out their website for their summer rates. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer; accommodations were covered by the hotel as payment.